Original Airdate: 04/10/2015
Written by: Drew Goddard
Directed by: Phil Abraham
Created by Drew Goddard
Based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Bill Everett
Cast of Characters
Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Man in Black
Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page
Elden Henson as Franklin “Foggy” Nelson
Toby Leonard Moore as James Wesley
Bob Gunton as Leland Owlsley
Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk
Peter McRobbie as Father Lantom
Daryl Edwards as Detective Hoffman
Chris Tardio as Detective Blake
John Patrick Hayden as Jack Murdock
Skylar Gaertner as Young Matt Murdock
Nikolai Nikolaeff as Vladimir Ranskahov
Gideon Emery as Anatoly Ranskahov
Peter Shinkoda as Nobu
Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao
Rob Morgan as Turk Barrett
Royce Johnson as Sgt. Brett Mahoney
J. Tucker Smith as Clyde Farnum
Tonya Glanz as Susan
Elise Kibler as Tracy Farnum
Erick Abbate as Boy
Richie Allan as Elderly Man
Raul Dedos as Officer #1
Jessica Park as Brunette
First Appearance: Matt Murdock, Man in Black, Karen Page, Foggy Nelson, James Wesley, Leland Owlsley, Wilson Fisk (voice only), Detective Hoffman, Detective Blake, Vladimir Ranskahov, Anatoly Ranskahov, Nobu, Madame Gao, Father Lantom, Turk Barrett, Brett Mahoney, Jack Murdock, Young Matt Murdock
Flashback: Battlin’ Jack Murdock, a down-on-his-luck pugilist, rushes to the scene of an auto accident to find his son injured. A truck carrying hazardous chemical waste nearly hit an elderly man before nine-year-old Matt Murdock pushed him out of the way. The truck swerves and tips over, dropping canisters from its load, one splashing young Matt’s eyes. Jack gets there as his son screams out in horror as his vision slips away for the last time.
Now grown, Matt goes to confession with Father Lantom at St. Agnes Church. He recounts his father’s boxing career with pride, even with the number of fights Jack lost. He recalls vividly that his father was never physically knocked out; he’d been knocked down but always got back up. There would be times, though, that Jack would take a hit and lose himself in the ring, becoming a vicious monster dropping big hits on his opponents. People used to refer to it as the Devil, and Matt ponders that he has it in himself. He states he’s there to confess not about what he’s done but what he’s about to do.
At the docks, Turk Barrett, a low-level criminal, and his goons are rustling some young women into a storage container to sell them into sex trafficking. Masked and dressed in black, Murdock attacks the criminals. After years of physical training and using his other senses, which have been heightened to supernatural levels by the very chemicals that took his sight, he wages a war on crime with the ferocity of his enraged father.
The next morning, Matt’s best friend, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, calls to ensure he shows up to meet a real estate agent with him to look at an office. The two have recently given up lucrative jobs at a prestigious law firm where they interned to start their own practice. They intend to help the down-trodden citizens of their home neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen. Foggy goes to meet a childhood friend now on the police force, Brett, to give his mother cigars in exchange for Bart tipping them off to potential new clients.
As Matt and Foggy are shown the office space, Karen Page wakes up on the floor of her apartment with a knife in hand and a corpse beside her. The cops break down her door and arrest her for the murder. Brett calls Foggy to let him know about the arrest. Matt and Foggy show up to question Karen, who is pretty apprehensive about the two men. They explain that she would be their first client. She explains that she doesn’t have any money; Foggy is quick to dismiss her, Matt thinks they need to get the experience. Karen explains the victim was a man she worked with named Daniel Fowler. They work for Union Allied Construction, one of the big outfits behind rebuilding following the Battle of New York featured in Marvel’s The Avengers. They went for drinks and then everything went blank for her before she awoke the next morning to him dead. Matt listens to her heartbeat and can tell she is telling the truth.
A studious man, James Wesley, sits down unannounced next to a man named Clyde Farnum having lunch in a park. He tells Farnum that his debt with a Mr. Rigoletto has been transferred to his employer upon Rigoletto’s retirement, and they expect payment. Farnum tries to leave but Wesley shows him a video feed of his daughter Tracy at college. Farnum calls her and sees the feed is live. Wesley points out Mr. Rance, a thug who can harm his daughter if Farnum doesn’t do their bidding. He agrees.
Foggy and Matt arguing about Karen’s case. Foggy wants to bargain a plea, but Matt notes that it’s strange they haven’t charged her with the evidence they have against her. They determine they need to offer an alternative to prove she didn’t kill Fowler. Meanwhile, in the jail, Farnum, one of the guards, attempts to strangle Karen with her bedsheet to make it look like she hung herself. She struggles and gets free. Matt and Foggy meet with the detectives to get Karen released, threatening to sue because of the attempted murder. Matt wonders if she wasn’t charged because they found too much evidence at her apartment, evidence of someone else being there.
Matt and Foggy ask Karen if she knows who is trying to kill her; she doesn’t. They ask if she knows why, and she says yes. She explains that she was the secretary for the chief accountant of Union Allied. She was accidentally sent a file on the pension fund for the company and saw that there was an extraordinary amount of money being passed through the fund. She told her boss, who laughed it off, which made her think he was embezzling money. She asked Fowler for a drink to talk about what she’d seen. While having drinks, she felt like she was drugged. Realizing that anyone she tells about the file is at risk, she attempts to leave. Matt and Foggy won’t let her to try to protect her. Matt offers for her to stay at his apartment for the night.
At Matt’s, which features a horrid view of a blinding digital billboard sign that helped him land the place at a discount, Karen asks for a change of shirt. She wonders if she can ask him a personal question. He offers that he hasn’t always been blind, assuming the most obvious query. They talk briefly about the accident and if he can remember seeing. He then asks her some questions. He tries to figure out why the didn’t kill her when they first found out that she knew about the file and was talking to people about it. He ponders why they would try to discredit her instead, and floats the idea that she still has the file and they want to get it from her. He listens to her heartbeat when he asks if she still has the file. He can hear her lie as she tells him no.
A group of heads of various criminal factions — Madame Gao with the Chinese Triad, Nobu with a Japanese Yakuza clan, Vladimir & Anatoly Ranskahov with the Russian mob, and Leland Owlsley, their accountant — meets in secret at a construction site. Gao speaks in Chinese, which no one understands. Wesley arrives to tell them that his employer was detained. The Russians go to leave and Wesley asks why they were short on their cargo at the docks. They explain that the Man in Black hit them. Owlsley chortles at the suggestion, but Wesley wants to hear more about him. Wesley translates Gao’s question if the man took the women for himself; they say no and that he took out four men by himself. Wesley is incredulous and concerned his employer won’t look kindly on this development. He stresses the Russians need to get a handle on it. They throw back in his face the Union Allied pension fund mess and stalled negotiations with a man named Prohaszka.
Karen leaves Matt’s in the middle of the night to return to her apartment. She pulls a thumb drive out of an air vent in the ceiling of her bathroom. Unfortunately, Mr. Rance was waiting for her in the dark. He grabs the drive and is about to kill her when Murdock arrives in his black suit. The two have an extensive fight that leads to them breaking through a window and falling to the ground. Unconscious, Matt flashes back to a night his dad came home after a fight to find the young blind Matt sleeping at the kitchen table. Jack tells his son to finish his homework First, he has the boy feel his bludgeoned face. In the present, Matt gets up as Rance comes at him again. They fight in the alley until Matt viciously takes him down. Karen runs to the street to find out who the masked man is. He pulls the thumb drive from Rance’s pocket and says he’ll get it where it needs to go. Karen protests, thinking it will put people in danger. Matt has another idea: he drops Rance and the drive off on the steps of the New York Bulletin newspaper.
The next day, the Union Allied scandal is the cover story for the Bulletin, written by investigative reporter Ben Urich. Wesley looks at the headline while riding in a car with his employer on speakerphone. He explains that everything has been covered up and the blame shifted to McClintock, the chief accountant and Karen’s boss. To assure he doesn’t speak to the police, McClintock was killed using pills to induce an overdose. The employer asks how Rance was defeated and Wesley assures him he’s looking into it. Wesley asks about Karen, and the boss states that everything she knew was already in the papers and she poses no other threat to them. He asks about their lawyers and requests Wesley look into putting them on the payroll, if need be.
At their office, Karen provides dinner for Matt and Foggy to thank them. Foggy says she should really thank the “nut in the mask.” As Karen has nothing to compensate them, she offers to work for them in the office. They agree. Later, Matt goes to Fogwell’s Gym, his dad’s old haunt, as the place is closing up. He wraps his hands and begins hitting the heavy bag. Elsewhere, Owlsley transfers funds from the Union Allied accounts to other accounts, as Farnum’s daughter discovers her dad dead of an apparent gun suicide in their basement. In jail, Rance is hung by his sheets in the cell. Madame Gao’s heroin business for the Triad prepares product for the streets, in packets with a distinctive red logo. Each of the employees has blinded themselves. Nobu and his clan finalize plans for a new building that will take up an entire block in Hell’s Kitchen. Barrett gets a shipment of weapons to deal with the masked man. And the Russians pull over a car, beat a man, and kidnap his son.
That night, on a rooftop, Matt is dressed in the black suit. He listens to the city to pick out crime he wants to tackle. He can hear the boy being kidnapped and goes to work.
- The all-black ninja-style look got its inauspicious start in the 1989 television movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. The film was the second of a series of telefilms following up on the 1978-1982 The Incredible Hulk TV series, featuring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. The telefilms were to serve as backdoor pilots for potential series based on other Marvel characters. In Trial, David Banner is represented by blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Rex Smith) in a court case. Murdock spends his nights fighting crime in the city, running up against Wilson Fisk. The all-black look inspired a similar take on the character’s origin in the seminal 1993 comic mini-series Daredevil: The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr. The 5-issue mini serves as a primary influence on this TV series.
Matt: “My grandmother, she was the real Catholic. Fear of God ran deep; you’d have liked her. She used to say ‘Be careful of the Murdock boys. They got the Devil in ’em.'”
Foggy: “If there’s a stunning woman with questionable character in the room, Matt Murdock’s gonna find her and Foggy Nelson is going to suffer.”